Saturday, December 24, 2016

Dec 19

Well before I start my normal blog, I just want to say thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday, it was one of the greatest I have had yet! 

When I got up in the morning my comp and I went to drop something off at a members house and bought stuff to make french toast. She made me french toast with chocobanano liquados, my favorite. :) We then went and worked until lunch. My comp had set up this surprise lunch for me with some of the members. They made me a cake and a delicious lunch! Then some other members invited us over for a special dinner. The tradition here is to get your face shoved in the cake, but luckily my comp had a little bit of mercy on me since we had appointments right afterwards haha. 

So the best part about this week was today. Every transfer we have a zone activity. We usually play sports or something and then go out to lunch. Well for the month of December, instead of doing this, we did a service project. We decided that we were going to go to the Central Park where there is always a ton of people, and act out the Christmas story which is found in Luke 2. We dressed up, sung, and read from the Bible the Christmas story. Then we also brought a table to hand out Christmas cards from the church, Books of Mormon, and DVDs of Joy to the World. It was amazing! Everyone was so interested and came and watched. The news came and the newspaper!!! They recorded our presentation and interviewed some of us, and said that they would give us a recording of what they were going to put. It was the coolest thing ever. We were able to give away a tonnnn of things to people and are going to be able to visit them very soon. It was such a success, and the most important was that we could truly feel the spirit so strongly. The spirit of Christmas is something so special. Especially when we think about serving others during this time of year. Many times people say to us that it must be hard to be away from home this time of year, but I think that this time of year as a missionary is the easiest and the best because we can truly focus on the true purpose of Christmas and on serving others. That is how we can truly feel the spirit of Christmas. 

I hope everyone has an amazing Christmas! My only advice is that if you are feeling stressed during this time, say a prayer and ask the Lord what you could do for somebody today. I promise he will respond and whatever act of kindness or service that you do, you will feel better and the person you serve will feel your love for them and also the love of Christ. 

FELIZ NAVIDAD de Guatemala!
Hermana Baird

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Dec 12

Hola! This week has flown by, I cannot believe it is already Monday again. We were super busy this week. On Tuesday we had Missionary Leadership Training so we had to travel to Xela. As always we learned a ton, but this time it was even better than usual because an area 70 came an talked to us! We learned a lot about desire, and how if we truly have desires to help families come unto Christ, we can do it! We just have to desire it, and believe we can do it, and we can! It was super motivating for us, and we left ready to work in our area.

On Friday we did divisions. I stayed in our area, and one of the sisters came with me there. The night before my comp and I planned to go to an area to contact that we never had gone to before. As we were on the bus back to our area, I told the sister who was coming with me that I had this strong feeling that we should go to a different place than Hna Higgins and I had planned for the night before. I told her that when we got back to the house I was going to write down three places on a piece of paper and that we would both pray about where we should go. I felt very strongly that we should go to a place called Tierra Colorado, and as the sister finished her prayer, she too had felt that we should go there. We traveled by bus to the area and then began walking and searching for houses. Its a very rural place with very humble houses in the middle of the mountains. As we began contacting we found SO many families! We we able to set up many return appointments for the following day. It was truly a miracle and we were able to have such a successful day together because we followed the Spirit and followed where the Lord wanted us to go. The next day my comp and I were back together and we returned to Tierra Colorado. We also found many new people to teach. This place is kind of far from the center of our area, like 25 minutes by bus. We decided  we would wait to eat lunch until like 2:30 or so. So around 2 we started walking in the direction we thought we would reach the main road. We walked the mountain trails for like 10 minutes and didn't see anyone! Finally we came upon a guy who was building a house. We asked him how much longer it was until we reached the main road, he said 45 minutes more up the mountain.. We were in a bit of shock but said thanks and kept walking. As we left him, I stopped and turned around and started to talk to him. As we presented ourselves he told us that he and his family wanted to start looking for a church. That he had a lot of problems with alcohol but he wanted to stop drinking for his children and family. That day was the first day in 36 days that he hadnt drank. We were able to teach him right then and there, and this Saturday we will be going to visit all of his family. It was such a miracle!

I am so grateful for this gospel. For all of the many blessings that it brings to my life, and for the happiness and joy that I am able to feel even in the hard and difficult times. Whenever we pass through the hard times we just need to think about the scripture in Alma 7:11-12 "11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."

I hope everyone has an amazing week!
Hermana Baird

Consejo de Lideres! This Elder was my zone leader a while ago and is always messing with me about how BYU is the best and that Utah is horrible. Well, this day he was supporting the Utes so I just had to take advantage of it!
The assistants, my companion and I!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dec 5

My new comp and I Hermana Higgins!

Hermana Hernandez and I in divisions!

Doing the nails of some of my favorite members here in San Franscisco! 

Nov 28

Happy late Thanksgiving to everyone! Here in Guatemala we don't celebrate thanksgiving, but our Bishop and his wife were so kind to invite us over for a thanksgiving dinner! Turkeys are hard to find here in my new area, you have to travel like 45 minutes to find one, so they bought a chicken instead, and then made mashed potatoes and gravy! I think I forgot what Thanksgiving dinner actually tastes like cuz this tasted pretty exact to me! It was really fun to share the traditions that we have with them. 

Anyways, I am in a new area! I am in a place called San Francisco el Alto. If you translate that it means, "the high San Francisco." Its cuz its soooo high up! The elevation is over 8000 feet! And everywhere you walk is just pure mountain. Lets just say my first few days here I was really tired and really out of breath haha. Its like always being on a hike. Its also freeeeezing cold here. I never thought I would be so freezing cold in Guatemala but every morning we are sitting really close to the heater during our studies cuz its just so dang cold! This area is super cool. Its pretty crazy because there isn't even a grocery store here. Just an outside market. Its crazy how accustomed to the life here I have gotten. This last week I went to Xela (a pretty big city) for divisions and I literally went into shock when I saw American products. Here I can barely even find hair conditioner! It is going to be a big shock for me when I return to the states haha. 

Last night we did a Family Home Evening with a family who are all members because their daughter is about to leave on a mission. They asked us to share our testimonies about the mission, and also 3 pieces of advice that we could give to her. It was a really spiritual experience and it helped me to reflect on my mission up to this point. Three things that I have learned that for me are most important on my mission are the following. 1) LOVE EVERYONE!!! We have to love the people we are serving and we also need to love and serve our companion. If we don't, we aren't going to see any success. 2) BE OBEDIENT! When we are obedient we are showing our love for the Lord. We also are able to receive many many blessings. We show our faith, and faith always produces miracles. 3) BE ENTHUSIASTIC! We must be enthusiastic about the work we do. Yes, we are going to find some people who don't want to even hear a word out of us, but we have to show them how great this gospel is and how happy it makes us. If they can see our happiness and our enthusiasm, they too will want it. I am so grateful for my mission and all that I have been able to learn up to this point. These principles are things that I will be able to apply in my entire life. I know that this church is true, that Christ restored it through the prophet Joseph Smith, and with whatever doubt or question we have we can read in the Book of Mormon to find the answers. I invite anyone and everyone, if you are a member of the church or not, to find a copy of the Book of Mormon and begin reading it. Pray and ask the Lord if it is true. He hears every prayer, and will answer you if you ask with a sincere heart. Love you all so much! 
It is a beautiful new video about Christmas and also Christ! Enjoy! 

Con mucho amor de Guatemala,
Hermana Baird 
FREEZING in Guatemala! 

A nice guy offering to shine my shoes while waiting for the bus.. Don't mind the drunk guy in the back. Like I said I think I have gotten way to used to this place, because now that is just something normal for me to see. The good news is we are here to help them get out of those bad situations and find our what true happiness is!

Hermana Higgins and I! We went up to this aldea (little village up in the mountains) and my comp wasn't that familiar with it either. We were trying to find a house in the mountains and after about 20 minutes of following the trail, we couldn't find a single house! We got a little lost, but ended up finding a family who led us back to the main road. And the plus is that we are going to be able to go and visit that family and teach them. The Lord really does guide us even when we think we are lost!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Nov 14 No blog Nov 21--Happy Thanksgiving!

Our best friend Ivan! These little things are called Tuk Tuks and they save our lives here. They are like little taxis and are super cheap! So we take them often since our area is so huge. Ivan is always coming and picking us up and taking us everywhere. He is the best! 

On Sunday we went to the hospital. We took a video with us about Christ and Christmas. We went during the hour of visits, and searched for the people who didn't have any visits so see if we could share the video and a scripture with them. We were able to teach 3 people in that hour who weren't members of the church! Then as we were finishing up, we were singing a hymn and we saw a member pass by the window. We went searching for them and found a member who had been in the hospital for a while and his family, and another family was there visiting him. We then had the privilege to share a small message with him too. It was a great day! 

Nov 7

This week has been a week full of miracles and many exciting things! For most of the things I am wanted to share, I have pictures that go along with them, so I am just going to put the picture, and then put a caption explaining each thing. I hope you can enjoy them as much as I did! :)

First of all, we had a Multi Zone conference this week with Elder Alonzo from the Seventy. Wow, he is a very very inspired guy. We all left that conference in shock by all of the amazing truths and advice he taught us. He shared a story with us that I just loved. He went to the doctor and the doctor told him he was depressed. Elder Alonzo responded, "There is no way I am depressed, I may be sick, but depressed? You have to be kidding me. Do you know what church I go to? I am part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I cant be depressed. I know that the Lord has restored his church through the prophet Jose Smith, and that through that I can receive every ordnance I need to return to his presence. I know that today we have a living prophet in the world who receive guidance and revelation directly from God, and I know that the Book of Mormon is true. A book that can guide me in ever aspect in my life. There is no reason at all for me to be depressed. Sick, yes, I am sick, but depressed, there is no way." I loved this story and just thought about how true it is! We have absolutely know reason to be sad as members of the true church of Jesus Christ. We have EVERYTHING we need to be happy and to enjoy every second of our lives. I love this gospel and all of the joy that it has brought me during my life before the mission and my life during the mission.

So during the Multi Zona, Elder Alonzo talked with us about being more creative in finding new investigators. So as a district we decided that we were going to go to central park on Saturday morning and sing and hand out pamphlets and books of Mormon. Well let me just start off by saying, we chose Saturday morning because EVERYONE in Toto goes there because of the market. So we had more than 30 Books of Mormon, and over 150 pamphlets to give out. As we started singing, people started coming up to the table and were curious about what we had. When someone came up, one of us stopped singing to talk with them. At the end of the two hours that we had set apart to do this, we had given away literally all of our supplies! Over 150 people went home that day with material to learn about the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and we found many new people to visit. It was one of the most fun and creative things I have done to contact people on my mission so far!

This is Elizabeth. She is one of our investigators and is a huge proof to me that the Lord truly knows each and every one of us and also that he prepares people to receive the message that we share as missionaries. So about 4 months ago I met Elizabeth. We had tried and tried to put appointments with her, but for some reason or another, we never were able to meet up. We literally saw here probable every other week, and tried and tried to put lessons. She said every time we saw her, "Hermanas when are you going to visit me?!" So about 2 weeks ago, we were leaving the village where she lives and I thought, we should call her before we leave to see if we can visit her. We called and she happened to be in Central, where we were planning on going. We went immediately and found her. We taught her in the park and she was just golden! She has a baptism date for December 3rd and is progressing so much! She came to church on Sunday and loved it. This morning we invited her to go running with us. She met us at the track, and then we had a lesson with her. She is going through hard times with her family right now and is having to live on her own. Today after we read with her in the Book of Mormon she shared with us an experience that happened. That she had a lot of things she needed to pay for today, and didnt have any way to pay for it. She said that these past few months have been so difficult and that every time she feels like she just cant keep going she prays to the Lord. Today she told us that it was a miracle because she knows the Lord hears her, because every time she prays she asks for him to put something in front of her that can help her. Every time she has asked, she says that its in those moments when we run into her. The Lord TRULY puts us in the path of those who need his gospel the most. I am so grateful for Eliza and all that her faith has taught me.

Noche de Hogar in the mission home with President and Hermana Smith, and with the Familia Ramierez!

"Soy Chapin de Sangre" It means I have the blood of a Guatemalan hahah. A member forced me to take this picture with his shirt on haha.

We were going to have to go super early for consejo de lideres with our Zone Leaders so a cute little member said she would make us pancakes to take with us. Well, the meeting got canceled, but the pancakes didnt, so the Zone leaders got lucky and got their breakfast delivered to there house that day!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Oct 31

So we had a super super great week this week. To start off, we got to go to Xela to our mission presidents house to have a family home evening with the Familia Ramierez. It was so great! We had a great lesson with President Smith and his wife, and then played a game with the kids, had some cake, and then headed back to Toto. They really like it and were super happy! We laughed the whole way there and the whole way back. It was a great time. Wednesday we had a day full of miracles. We have been praying a ton to be able to find families, and when we are out proselyting, that is our main focus. So this week we were contacting in a little village up in the mountains in an area that we hadn't ever gone too. We knocked on a few doors, and they didn't want to listen. So, we kept knocking. We got to a house and the lady was very positive, but she was about to leave. We asked her if she knew of anyone that lived around her that could benefit from hearing about the gospel of Jesucristo. At first she said no, but we felt that we needed to insist a little. We asked her if she maybe knew anyone that was passing for difficult times, or had just had a baby. She said you guys could try going to the Familia Caxaj's house. They live in the house of brick about 5 minutes more down this path. So we went searching. We found the house and knocked. They opened the door and were extremely nice. They allowed us to enter their house so we sang a hymn with them and shared a little bit with them out the Restoration. We were extremely shocked and excited when we found out that it was a family of 11 people! Yes, 11 people! We are going back to visit them tonight and are so extremely excited. The Lord truly puts his chosen people in our paths and will guide us to those who need us if we ask him in sincere prayer and if we live worthily to have his trust! 

This time of year here in Guatemala everyone is super super busy because they are all harvesting their corn! There are corn fields seriously all around us here. It feels like we are constantly in a corn maze haha. So anyways they use the corn to make tortillas and tamalitos. So during this time they take down all the corn husks and have to do this big process so that it drys and they can use it for the tortillas and tamales for the entire year! So this week we went to a recent converts house who has a ton of land to grow her corn. When we got there her whole family was working with the corn so we helped. What we were doing was taking off all of the grains of corn from the cob. At this point the corn is completely dried out. Its super interesting and A TON of work! I cant imagine having to do this ever single year. The people here are super hard workers that's for sure. 

Tomorrow we have a Multi-Zone Conference with a general authority! Elder Alonzo from the 70 is going to be with us. We are so excited! It is always so great being able to listen to these servants of the Lord help us to know how we can do missionary work better. Thursday we are going to have our Leadership Council meeting, and Elder Alonzo is going to be there too! My comp and I have to present a little bit during the meeting so we are a little nervous, but super excited for the opportunity. 

Anyways, life here is going great. My comp and I are having a ton of fun and working hard to find those who the Lord is preparing to receive this gospel. Thanks for all of your support!

Con mucho amor de Guatemala, 
Hermana Baird

The famous noodle taco. Yes, this is normal here! Everytime we have spaghetti or any type of noodles, there is ALWAYS tortillas, and ALWAYS ketchup. And surprisingly it is actually pretty good. I think I am turning into a Guatemalan. 

We went to a new area to contact and find new investigators and I stepped in a huge pile of "mud." I am not too sure it was mud though, probably a differnt kind of waste product. But anways, it was a good ice breaker cuz we went to the closest house and asked if we could wash off my foot and shoe in their pila (the sink type thing in the pic) and she let us! We are going to go back and visit her this week, so I guess it was worth getting a little dirty. :) Then Hermana Schiess and I went to lunch at our favorite place here in Toto called Pinkys

AMO A TOTO!!! But really I never want to leave this place!

This morning we went on like a 3 and a half mile run, and then did our studies up on the roof of our apartment!

The cutest little puppy that a member just got!



Monday, October 31, 2016

Oct 24

Well, the first part of our time together as companions was rough as you can see.. Thats what happens when a BYU fan and a Utah fan have to be comps... But the good news is, is that she is still super cool and we can get over it and be best friends again. 

District activity with Distrito Totonicap├ín. Volleyball, uno, and Marios pizza. The typical Monday in Guatemala.